25 February 2015
 St. John’s, Antigua: Blowing in the Wind

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Antigua is a place of great beauty and a bit of history, including the one-time presence of a young and mostly intact Horatio Nelson as commander of the Dockyards in what is now English Harbour.

Nelson did not much like Antigua, and spent most of his time here on board his own ship. But today English Harbour and the Nelson Dockyard are filled with spectacular yachts and handsome sailing vessels.

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Silver Cloud at the dock in St. John’s.

There’s a lot to see on this island, and we have been all around it by land many times. On this visit, though, we took to the sea.

We went out for the day with four other passengers on Cat Tales II, a handsome 40-foot catamaran. The wind was blowing pretty steadily at about 20 miles per hour, and soon after we left the port of Road Town we were flying along at 8 or 9 knots.

Cat Tales II is the pride and joy of James and Sherrill, who moved to Antigua from the south of England, which seems like a fine decision.

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Cat Tales II arrives to pick us up.

We headed out into the Atlantic into the wind; the handsome catamaran skims across the waves. Its two hulls descend only three feet into the water, and balance each other out so that the sailboat does not “heel” or lean during maneuvers. Not a drop of champagne was spilled.

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Dog Head Rock, outside the harbor of St. John’s. The head is at the left side of the photo.

We set anchor in Deep Bay, a secluded beach. While some of us swam laps around the boat, James and Sherrill put half a dozen local spiny lobsters on the barbecue for their guests.

On the way back, we made a visit to the wreck of the Andes.

The three-masted steel sailing barque was built in England in 1874. In June 1905, she departed Trinidad with a cargo of pitch (tar) headed for Chile. They sailed northeast toward Antigua to catch the tradewinds that would have carried them down to Cape Horn at the bottom of South America.

But near Antigua, smoke began to rise from the barrels of tar. The captain turned toward shore, but did not make it to St. John’s. Her captain the ship at Deep Bay.

We sailed overhead the wreck, a ghostly shadow on the sea bottom, 30 feet below the surface but visible in the beautifully clear Caribbean waters.

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All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.